In this Teen Bible Study Guide, we will learn ways God wants us to develop Christian relationships through dating.
Practical Christian Living: Dating
No one wants to be alone. As human beings we desire relationships with others. God created us as social beings. Genesis:2:18 states: "And the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.' " Then God instituted marriage (Genesis:1:24). Here we see that God desires for men and women to develop relationships leading to marriage. But how do we decide whom we will marry? Do we date only people we wish to marry? In this Bible study we will learn ways God wants us to develop Christian relationships through dating.
What Dating Is And Isn't
PROVERBS 4: 7 "Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding."
COMMENT: Because we will likely live with a mate in marriage and within a community around us, God wants us to learn how to live in harmony with others. God has given us laws and wise policies to insure peace and enjoyable, uplifting relationships. In our culture, dating is a means to learn how to relate socially with that half of the population that is of the opposite gender. Dating is also a means of getting to know someone better. Courtship is that final phase before marriage when a man and a woman are BOTH deciding whether they truly want to marry and are truly suitable for one another. ALL dating is NOT courtship. Dating MAY lead to courtship, and courtship will include dating, but dating need not have romantic overtones. It can be just companionship in a mutually pleasing activity.
1. Do you think some teens sometimes confuse dating with courtship? Do you think our culture confuses the two? What clues reveal there may be confusion?
2. It's been said that common dating practices today prepare one for divorce. Why doesn't modern dating promote healthy relationships?
3. What can one learn about another person on a date?
4. What are some wrong reasons to date?
PROVERBS 3:1-2: "My son, do not forget my law, But let your heart keep my commands; For length of days and long life And peace they will add to you."
PROVERBS 4:1-2: "Hear, my children, the instruction of a father, And give attention to know understanding; For I give you good doctrine: Do not forsake my law."
5. What are some rules your parents have regarding dating?
6. Why do you think they give you those rules?
COMMENT: Parents are the people who know you best and always have your best interests at heart. Keep this in mind when they discuss dating rules (such as curfew), and when they give answers or counsel to questions pertaining strictly to you alone such as, when you can start dating, how often to date, and when you are mature enough to begin dating one-on-one.
Who to Date
PROVERBS 11:14 "Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety."
1. To whom do you go for counsel?
2. Give reasons why counselors urge teens to group date.
COMMENT: In early adolescence, group dating can help girls and guys get used to doing things together on a social level. This usually allows everyone to feel more relaxed around one another before guys and girls start dating one-on-one.
3. Why do you think counselors recommend dating many different people? What are the advantages to dating many people before dating one person?
I CORINTHIANS 15:33: "Do not be deceived: 'Evil company corrupts good habits.'"
4. Do you think it wise to date just anyone? Why?
5. Would it be wise to date someone not of the same faith? Why? Does it matter if not everyone included on a group date is of the same faith?
6. What are some things you should know about a person before dating him or her? What standards and values do you look for?
7. What do the following proverbs teach us about whom to date and not to date?
COMMENT: Proverbs:4:23 tells us to be extremely careful about our affections. We humans are often prone to give our heart away too easily. That being so, it is wise not to date someone whose character or faith will lead you away from God and His way of life. Ancient Israel was warned not to intermarry with the nations around them lest their heart be turned from Him (Deuteronomy:7:3-4). Do you remember what happened to King Solomon?
8. How can one decline a date request graciously?
ECCLESIASTES 11:9: "Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, And let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth; Walk in the ways of your heart, And in the sight of your eyes; But know that for all these God will bring you into judgment."
1. God wants you to enjoy life. Dating ought to be an enjoyable experience. What are some activities that you would like to do on a date?
COMMENT: There is an endless list of good ideas for a date. Doing them with parents of one or more on the date will lessen the pressure and temptations that would occur if dating alone. Those who enjoy sports will want to participate in or watch sports; those who like to visit places could choose to see historical sites, attend fairs, go on picnics, etc.; those who like to just chat, may find going to a fast-food restaurant or coffeehouse where conversation is lively to be immense fun; those who enjoy learning about the world may want to attend cultural events, participate in a book discussion, explore a museum; those who like to be involved may choose to collectively take part in church or school projects or an environmental work party. These are all opportunities to be with others and learn about each other. There are also bad ideas for a date.
2. What is the one warning that the above verse gives about choice of activity?
COMMENT: Also read I Thessalonians 4:3-8. God says that dating should be conducted in an honorable way reflecting holiness. Those who reject this concept are rejecting God.
3. What are some bad ideas to do on a date? (For one, consider I Corinthians 6:18.)
How to Behave on a Date
GALATIANS 5:14: "For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'"
1. What kind of "love" is being referred to here?
NOTE: This is not referring to sexual love. Remember God's commandments regarding adultery and covetousness.
PHILIPPIANS 2:3-4: "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others."
2. Everyone likes to feel that they fit in and that others like their company. What are some ways to make group dates fun and help everyone have a good time?
3. How can we show esteem, or honor, to our dates? What are some common mistakes in this area?
4. Can you think of ways we can act responsibly on dates? (ONE HINT: Think Alexander Bell)
COMMENT: Respect for one another should rule over all else. As an added bonus to group dating, if we act responsibly on group dates our parents will probably feel more comfortable in allowing us to date in the future.
5. What is a "chaperone"? When, if ever, do you think it is good to have a chaperone?
1. Why date?
2. Who do you want to date?
3. In what ways does God figure into your dating practices?